At Wichita State University, we value social media platforms as powerful communication devices that can play a major role in building long-lasting personal relationships while contributing to the positive development of the university’s overall brand reputation. The following guidelines have been created in an attempt to empower members of the university community to utilize these tools as a way to connect with individuals within their audience(s) while doing so in the most responsible and consistent way possible.
Definition of social media
Social media is defined as any form of electronic communication through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content. Some examples of social media platforms include, but are not limited to, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.
Currently, Wichita State University has an official presence on the following social media platforms:*
|Official university page||http://www.facebook.com/wichita.state|
|Personal page for WuShock||http://www.facebook.com/wu.shock|
|Fan page for WuShock||http://www.facebook.com/wu.shock.fans|
|Official university profile||http://twitter.com/@wichitastate|
|Official university channel||http://www.youtube.com/user/wichitastatetv|
*Individual departments, programs and specific members of the campus community may also be active on these and other social media sites.
1) Is social media right for you?
Before you do anything, become a silent observer. Listen to what’s being said and look at what’s being shared to see what other people are talking about and to determine your place in the conversation.
2) What are your objectives?
Are you looking to engage your audience, get information out about your office or just promote an event? Identifying your objectives ahead of time will help you select an appropriate platform and determine how you use it.
3) Do you need your own presence or is there already a university profile that can help you achieve your objectives?
As much as you may want your own online presence sometimes its better to work together with other campus groups to reach a larger audience, avoid duplicating efforts and limit the possibility of being lost in the online shuffle. It’s always a good idea to take a look at who is already online before you proceed in creating your own profile.
4) Who is your audience?
Knowing your audience will play a major role in determining what online platform is right for you. For example, if your audience is primarily traditional-aged undergraduate students, a Facebook presence may make more sense than a similar presence on other social media platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter.
5) Who will be responsible?
Engaging in social media requires making a commitment. Before getting started, it’s important to ensure that you have someone on staff (and a backup) who will be able to regularly contribute and monitor your online presence. This person should be knowledgeable, passionate and dedicated. If you cannot identify someone who foots the bill, it might be better to just stay on the sidelines.
6) What part will social media play in your overall marketing plan?
Most likely your social media efforts will only be one aspect of your office’s overall marketing plan, therefore it’s important to think about how your online presence will work together with your other online and traditional marketing efforts before getting started.
Some social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn require the selection of page administrators; in these cases it’s generally a good idea to spread the responsibility among several people to ensure that someone in your office always has access to your account. For an added sense of security, you can contact University Relations at extension 3045 or email email@example.com to request an official university-sponsored page administrator.
When it comes to naming a page or registering an online account, always include the words “Wichita State University” (only substitute “WSU” if you are limited by the number of characters you can use) followed by your program/department/office’s official name. This establishes consistency among university-affiliated pages and helps identify your presence as an “official” university account.
Page layout and design
Whether in print or online, consistency is required for all visual representations of Wichita State University. Please refer to the university’s Visual Identity Standards for guidance on color, fonts, photography and the approved usage of the Wichita State logo whenever faced with making design choices.
Honesty is the number one rule when it comes to social media. Be up front about who you are and what you do. Never break the trust of others by pretending to be someone you’re not or by misleading them by intentionally distributing false information. Doing so will keep you out of trouble and help you gain the respect of those with whom you interact.
Think before you post
If you have any doubt about whether or not you should post something, most likely you should just keep it to yourself, because once it’s out there, it’s out there for good. With that in mind, always review what you’re about to share from every possible angle to determine what negative consequences exist and decide whether or not you’re comfortable accepting the responsibility of those consequences.
Give your audience a reason to engage with you by giving them something of value—either something that will help them personally or something they can share with someone else. When you’re dealing in social media, information is currency.
Write what you know
As an official representative of the university, your audience is looking to you for definitive answers and accurate information. Always ensure that you are properly informed on what you are commenting on or look to involve others from the campus community. If you are ever placed in a position to comment on something you are unsure about, be open and clearly communicate your uncertainty up front in your response. It’s also important to remember that when posting on an official university page you are in effect a university spokesperson and therefore should keep all personal opinions to yourself.
Treat those you interact with online with the same level of respect as those you encounter face to face. Never post anything that can be interpreted as profane, obscene, abusive, harassing, hateful, defamatory, embarrassing or of a personal nature (this includes anything sent to you in a private message).
Use your conversation skills
Social media is at its best when it’s a two-way conversation. Avoid the temptation to use your presence as just another marketing platform and only talk about yourself—actively look for opportunities to engage your audience. Ask them questions, respond to things they have to say and most importantly … listen.
You may not always like what others have to say, but unless it is offensive, let it be. Trying to cover up or otherwise delete such statements can only backfire and will provide those comments with an even louder voice. If you feel the need to respond, do so in a polite and courteous manner intended only to clarify the facts.
Abide by the law
Never post anything that violates local, state or federal law, this includes all copyrighted images, video and music. To ensure that you are always in compliance it is best to only share original material or material approved, and provided by, the university.
If you’d like additional guidance determining whether social media is right for you or would just like a little help getting started, contact University Relations at extension 3045 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.